3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
zbigi
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by zbigi »

Re: career jumps, we had one guy in our department of 40+ coders doing all our accounting. In the department's books, he saw how much more we made compared to him, and also, to him, we seemed to have way more fun and variability in our date-to-date job, compared to his accounting chores. He became determined to abandon accounting and switch to software development. Luckily, the bank I worked for at the time believed in developing its own people and basically allowed him, after he completed some self-learning, to move into a super-basic software development in test position (basically writing programs which test other programs) where he learned everything on the fly, without ever giving up his salary. In his case, it definitely helped that everyone liked him and also recognized him as a hard worker.

guitarplayer
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by guitarplayer »

@zbigi, this is what I am thinking about when I write about navigating one’s way to whatever avenues they want to pursue so long they are already in the cave.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

just sharing: i've gotten in trouble at work again. deep down, i don't want to be here. but im making myself stay and even considered signing up for one more year because [rational reasons]. But deep down I don't want to work and my lizard brain is exploding shit. So I feel out of control, and terrified because of it. oh well, what else is new. made 1 yr at this job.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

my income in dollars is decreasing. i guess this is the case for everyone who doesn't earn in dollars right now, but i'm feeling it and it's a downer. Not sure when devaluation will complete or at what level. This is mostly interesting psychologically: one, I'll need to make a decision on how long I'll stay where I am. At some point, if the pay in dollars is eroded, the pay differential with other places won't be enough to justify me sticking in this location.

Mostly, though, what makes me anxious is that psychologically, I don't seem able to work any longer. This current job I have now isn't hard. The hours aren't that bad and the job itself isn't that bad. But I'm still finding myself with that scratched-out, worn-out feeling in the middle of my chest, the exhaustion, the desire to escape and be anywhere but at work, etc. I'm back to being burnt out again, where minimal tasks feel like they take gargantuan effort.

This is all fine and well. It's why I got into FI/ERE in the first place -- the realization that fundamentally, working a full-time job isn't for me. Which is fair, and I wouldn't begrudge it to anyone. However, it does make me anxious that in times when working is the rational course of action (e.g. now when markets are down and from sequence of returns risk perspective, living on earned income is superior to drawing down on savings) -- that when it makes rational sense to work and I would rationally prefer to draw on a salaryman stream, I might be psychologically unable to do so. It's like someone kicked one of the safety pillars from under my feet. It's true I could make up for it for strengthening the other pillars -- diy skill development, investment skill development, etc -- but the period when there are no skills AND no ability to draw on a salaryman income without incurring psychological harm is difficult. I would like to be able to work a simple job without my days feeling like active torture.

I also wish I had an idea of what I wanted to do. The current situation isn't ideal, but some vision of "things can get better if we work towards that would be very helpful right now.

Another unrelated, strange development: property prices in my country of origin have increased A LOT, and fewer properties are on the market than during '18-'21 -- and this with rising interest rates, crashing AirBNB incomes, etc. Curious. I wonder if properties are being bought out by investment trusts.

grundomatic
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by grundomatic »

I feel your pain, as it sounds like mine. Before when I started feeling miserable at work, I'd find a new field to work in, and that would reinvigorate my interest in working for some years. Now that I know (and can't unknow) about FIRE, I'm having a hard time pulling the plug on the current salaryman job that is rationally perfect for getting me retired in ~5 years, but is really grinding me down. Compounding the problem is that all the time spent around anti-work culture has changed my values and perceptions such that I can't imagine myself being happy in any job. Having said all this, I'm better off than I was earlier this year, thanks to a sort-of-job-switch and loads of vacation time. Any chance this would help you? Also wanted to say I feel you on the not being able to follow through on the things that I know are good for me. Last week a friend put it this way, "Essentially everything is a drug". I'll add that it is hard to kick a [drug] habit when work feels like torture. Hang in there.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Doubling down on extreme frugality seems like the only thing I can do that I have control over. And yes, I will probably end up changing jobs even though it will likely only be a temporary bandaid. Strength :muscle:

Edited to add: in my case, I don't know if exposure to antiwork rhetoric is the reason. feeling a=like this about work precedes exposure to antiwork rhetoric for me, I went looking for FI/ERE blogs because i was feeling like all crap. Taking time off for covid did help; I was out of work for 1.5 yrs and now it's getting close to a year working; looks like one year on, one year off might be a thing if someone can tolerate these cv gaps

grundomatic
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by grundomatic »

I, too, am noticing a 1:1 ratio. I had two months off, and the first two months back were manageable. Here in the third month, things are getting rough.

zbigi
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by zbigi »

That's what I do as well. My ratio of work to non-work in the past 19 years (since I started working) is something like 2:1. I'd probably go batshit insane if I worked full-time for 19 years straight...

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

After 13 months off work, the first year back was ok, now about to hit the two year mark next month and can't find the exit soon enough. Would rather deal with a possible resume gap in 2-3 years than lose another year to burn/brown out in my 30's.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

If you "commit" to one more year but leave after 4-6 montha, are their repercussions?

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

It sounds like this is a thing, then, needing time off in proportion to time worked. Good to know that it's something normal that happens.
If you "commit" to one more year but leave after 4-6 montha, are their repercussions?
There are and particularly in my case, I probably shouldn't do it. The industry is such that reliably showing up when contracted and serving the full length of your contract is valued more than elsewhere (this is due to the costs of hiring from abroad and bringing people in - if I were to leave, because of visa delays etc, a replacement can't be hired immediately so there is disruption). In addition, my CV is not pretty. I have been turned away by recruiters for being a "job hopper" - not serving the full length of my contract and leaving after a year. I was also fired from the job before last, and from my last job though that was covid-related so I kind of maybe have an excuse. The tl;dr is, my CV needs a redemption arc and if I stay in this line of work, it's good to stick at the same place for a longer period of time and to serve out what I've been contracted for reliably.

Obviously, the best long-term solution is to diversify my skills. I could, for instance, do what 7w5 is doing and do a Data Analytics or a Business Analyst or some such degree and attempt to change industries and locations. I have not really decided on my next course of action. I don't want to work, and if I move to Western Europe, I would have to work. I could go to my country of origin, but €220k says my budget is €350-400 per month - enough for daily necessities, but not enough to leave, so it will be a forever move and I'm not quite ready for that: my world feels too small when I am stuck back home with no opportunity for mobility or travel; i've gotten too used to it on my expat gig -- but then, moving and traveling also means working, which I don't want to do.

I have gotten a bunch of books on Brief Solution-Focused Therapy with an eye of doing it on myself. My escapist pipe dream is to be a nomad shrink that offers therapy via the internet for beer money ($500-1000/mo), but this is quite unrealistic: shrink training is too expensive, so I either have to fake certifications and degrees or commit to 3-4 additional years of school. Some of it can be done online, like catching up on the undergrad psychology courses I'd need to be accepted in a shrink program in the first place. But the degree itself needs to happen in person, out of pocket, in an english-speaking western country (australia, canada, UK -- US is unaffordable). Other European countries offer shrinking degrees as well, but those are usually in the local language (as opposed to degrees in data analysis, statistics, etc. which are ubiquitous in english).

Obviously, whatever I do, the rationally best way to do it is to stay at this job and use my last year in this job to re-train. It is, however, not what I want to do. In the end, all of these options are in one way or another about continuing working, and I just don't want to work.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

I am also reading What Should I Do With My Life by Po Bronson -- the book was recommended to someone else on a random Reddit thread. I'm mostly noting it down because despite finding the author a bit annoying, there was an interesting point there: finding what you want to do with your life -- or your "freedom-to" as it is known around here -- isn't a matter of positive discovery of some activity; it's a matter of squaring off with one's fears and misconceptions. I found that to be a valuable insight.
Last edited by ertyu on Mon Oct 31, 2022 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

It occurs to me that this journal is called 3 yrs to FI, I started it in 2019 and I'm still not fi

bostonimproper
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

When I was 23, I thought I was 5 years from going semi-FIRE and going back for my PhD. Lol. Things happen, circumstances change.

For what it’s worth, the last 3 years have been weird ones.

MBBboy
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by MBBboy »

Maybe not, but I suspect you're a lot closer than you were back then

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Thanks for the encouragement, all

4% of my money just evaporated because IB won't give me permission to trade currencies and currency CFDs. I just stood there, watching the move in the euro happen, nothing I could do other than feel terror. I had been considering whether I should do a MA degree in my field to dot all i-s and cross all t-s when it comes to certifications and whether the cost is worth it. Well, I have now lost more than that. Two months and a half, I have worked for nothing.

While I don't think things are sunshine and roses when it comes to the real economy, due to seasonality, I think this move in the SPX and USD will persist. Any selling off in the euro got steadily bought yesterday, and while SPX came off of intraday highs, it doesn't look to be going anywhere except grinding up either. Everyone was sitting on the sidelines with cash, chomping at the bit and ready to plow in at the first evidence of inflation decelerating. I should have anticipated this -- it was obvious inflation was going to decelerate. Feeling like the full extent of the incompetent idiot I am.

Edited to add: what I learned from this experience:

1. Psychologically, I don't really have fomo on the way up. I am perfectly fine with not seeing "number go up." But I really don't do well with "number go down." I'd better learn how to hedge

2. Investing skill matters much more than frugality and diy skills that optimizing individual daily expenses. Beyond broad decisions that structure one's life so that one has "a 15k/yr life" rather than "a 45k per year life,"* minimizing expenses is the wrong focus. I lost much more today than I lost over the last year ordering too much take-out or buying coffee outside the house.

* - geographical location, how one is housed, amount of car, etc

3. I will probably do the MA. Who cares to what extent the £7k will pay for itself when much more than that can be gone in a matter of days

4. I hate my job, but I can't imagine having this experience when I wasn't working.

not sure
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by not sure »

Sorry to hear this, @ertyu
:( it seriously sucks

stay strong, this, too shall pass
Can't imagine what it was like for my parents and grandparents when their life savings evaporated overnight in the Russian ruble default in the 1990s. I think something like that happened in Poland a few years before.
And yet they persevered and are okay now. IMHO, part of it was the grit to not buy "takeout coffee" or repair things instead of getting new ones.
it still sucked, though

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

not sure wrote:
Sat Nov 12, 2022 3:06 pm
t was the grit to not buy "takeout coffee" or repair things instead of getting new ones.
completely right

(tho im not sure id include "not buying coffee outside the house" under "grit" haha, grit deserves more respect than that -- and, in the end, when poverty gets like that, you just quit and go without)

I need to accept that there is no "neutral position" and no such thing as "safety" when it comes to investing.

zbigi
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by zbigi »

not sure wrote:
Sat Nov 12, 2022 3:06 pm

Can't imagine what it was like for my parents and grandparents when their life savings evaporated overnight in the Russian ruble default in the 1990s. I think something like that happened in Poland a few years before.
Poland didn't have an overnight currency devaluation in the 1990s like Russia did - we "just" had a period of very high inflation in late 80s and early 90s, (with median maybe around 30% and one year seeing 200%+ inflation). Since it was very gradual, people were prepared and no one kept any significant amount of money in the local currency back then.

OTOH, there was a one-time unexpected "money exchange" in early 50s, when communist government said they are instituting a new currency, with exchange rate 1:1 with the old currency - but you can only exchange a certain amount of old money for the new money. You could effectively use the rest as a tinder in your chimney... This was effectively a one-time, 100% wealth tax (for currency only, but most people didn't have other assets) for money above a certain treshold.

Dave
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by Dave »

Hey ertyu, just wanted to pop in and say I've continued to follow your path and root for you. It's been a frustrating time, but you're still trending in the right direction. Keep it up!
ertyu wrote:
Fri Nov 11, 2022 6:34 pm
2. Investing skill matters much more than frugality and diy skills that optimizing individual daily expenses. Beyond broad decisions that structure one's life so that one has "a 15k/yr life" rather than "a 45k per year life,"* minimizing expenses is the wrong focus. I lost much more today than I lost over the last year ordering too much take-out or buying coffee outside the house.
The ERE path to rock-bottom spending through progressive advancement of the Wheaton levels has tremendous value beyond achieving FI, and to be clear I am not discounting it, but you are right that from the purely financial perspective once you achieve a reasonably low cost structure and a certain level of assets - i.e. you are pareto-optimized - the skillful management of those assets is going to (financially) overpower anything you might do to cut your costs.

For someone primarily concerned with achieving financial freedom, this is an important point to consider and it offers an alternate path not often discussed on these forums. In my time focusing "full-time" on investing, I've come across a number of individuals who FIRE'd early with much less than would normally be considered safe in normal early retirement circles, but their investment skill allowed them to be incredibly successful nonetheless.

I'm not sure I'd recommend this path to many people, but as you saw, a single trade opportunity you identified and were unable to act on was material to your situation. I'd say this sort of situation comes up regularly to those spending a lot of time looking for them, and for someone with fairly low costs and moderate assets can easily represents months of spending. This suggests that optimizing investment strategy should consume similar if not more effort to reducing costs, if (again) simply achieving FI is the goal.

Of course I'm biased :)!

Anyways, as you say, strength!

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Thank you for the encouragement and validation @Dave. I have been avoiding active investing because I'm too risk-averse and active investing feels like taking unacceptable risks. But my thick skull has to accept that there is no such thing as not taking a risk when it comes to finances. Right now, I am still in the accumulation phase which for me involves living abroad and changing locations every couple of years. This makes physical, "maker"-type skills impractical: I spend too short a time at any one location for accumulating tools etc. to make sense. Intellectual and emotional skill, on the other hand, doesn't have a storage or transportation cost, so for now it's rational to focus on that.

I found the following quote by Jesse Felder interesting:
Ed Seykota, featured in the original Market Wizards, gives us perhaps the most important insight of all: “Win or lose, everybody gets what they want out of the market. Some seem to like to lose, so they win by losing money.” He explains further,

I know one trader who seems to get in near the start of every substantial bull move and works his $10 thousand up to about a quarter of a million in a couple of months. Then he changes his personality and loses it all back again. This process repeats like clockwork… I don’t think he can do it any differently. He wouldn’t want to. He gets a lot of excitement, he gets to be a martyr, he gets sympathy from his friends, and he gets to be the center of attention. Also, possibly, he may be more comfortable relating to people if he is on their financial plane. On some level, I think he is really getting what he wants. I think that if people look deeply enough into their trading patterns, they find that, on balance, including all their goals, they are really getting what they want, even though they may not understand it or want to admit it.

It’s no secret how Warren Buffett has been so successful over the course of his career. In fact, he has made it priority to share all of his “secrets” with anyone willing to take the time to simply read them. The trouble is his philosophy is intolerably dry and the process of investing as he does is infinitely boring to the vast majority of people in the world. The truth is that most don’t want to succeed in the markets as much as they want to be both thrilled and agonized by them.
What I find most interesting about it is the intersection with @AxelHeyst's EK work. Might well be the first "finance" book I (re)read is the EK one :lol:

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